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Bird Cherry - Prunus padus

Bird Cherry - Prunus padus

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 Acidic, Sandy, Peaty Acidic, Sandy, Peaty
 Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous
 Damp and Clays Damp and Clays
 Light Sand Light Sand
 Neutral Neutral
Autumn Interest Autumn Interest
Flower Interest Flower Interest
Fruits & Berries (Wildlife) Fruits & Berries (Wildlife)
Growth Rate: Moderate Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: Small Height: Small
Native Native
Use: Small Garden Use: Small Garden
Wildlife Interest Wildlife Interest

Characteristics
Plant Protection
Planting & Care
Long Description 5
Images (3)
Questions (3)
Reviews
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The Bird Cherry is native to Britain, and looks stunning in late spring when it is covered with masses of white fragrant blossom. An important tree for wildlife as well as for its ornamental value, it is sometimes seen in parks and as roadside planting, and is a great addition to woodlands. With fruits which ripen in late summer and good autumn colour, this tree has a long season of interest.

Site and soil

Although it prefers damp soil over limestone, the Bird Cherry is very adaptable and will grow well even in poor soils. Does well at altitudes up to 600m and is very hardy.

Height and spread

Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;

After 10 years: 5m x 3m
After 20 years: 7.6m x 4.6m

Leaf and bark

Lanceolate, toothed leaves, sharply pointed at the tip, turn yellow and orange in autumn. Nectar glands on the leaf stem attract insects to the plant. The bark is dark and shiny.

Flower, seed and fruit

The small, five-petalled white flowers with their yellow stamens are arranged in large racemes on the branches in great profusion. Upright at first, they quickly droop downwards; they are strongly almond-scented. The flowers are followed by small spherical red fruits, which ripen to black in August.

Uses

Woodland, specimen tree, roadside planting.

Wildlife

The Bird Cherry is an important tree for wildlife, with over 30 species of insect feeding on its leaves and flowers. Bees, butterflies, beetles, and in Scotland the endangered Aspen hoverfly, feed on the pollen, and a number of moth larvae feed on the leaves. Birds, including Redwing, Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Robins feast on the fruits in late summer, and small mammals eat the fruits which have fallen to the ground.

The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:

  • Pests
  • Spraying
  • Strimming

Pests

When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golen rule of thumb is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.

Vole Rabbit Hare Roe Deer/Muntjac Fallow Deer
Vole, Mice
20cm
Rabbit
60cm
Hare
75cm
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Fallow Deer
1.50m

 Download our full protection range as a printable PDF document.

Protection Options

Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Vole
Vole, Mice
20cm
Vole Guard
20cm
None required
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Rabbit
Rabbit
60cm
Spiral Guard
60cm x 38mm, 60cm x 50mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Easywrap
60cm x 50-65mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Mesh Guard with Spray Shield
60cm x 130mm
2 x Bamboo Canes
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap
60cm x 65-80mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Ecostart
60cm x 57-73cm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
60cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube for Shrubs
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Hare
Hare
75cm
Tubex Easywrap
75cm x 50-65mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Spiral Guard
75cm x 50mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap
75cm x 65-80mm
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Ecostart
75cm x 57-73mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
75cm x 80-110mm, 90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
75cm x 130-160mm, 75cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Roe Deer/Muntjac
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Tubex Tree Shelter
1.20m x 73-105mm, 1.20m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
1.20m x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
1.20m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
1.20m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard
1.20m x 300mm
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.20m x 50mm, 1.50m x 50mm
Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Fallow DeerFallow Deer
1.50m
Tubex Tree Shelter
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard
1.80m x 300mm, 1.80m x 600mm
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.80m x 60mm

Spraying

Tubex tree shelters offer the benefit of not only protecting against animal damage, they also ensure that herbicides do not come into contact with the plants during spraying.

The main reason for spraying is weed control, however, there are other options available to suppress weeds. Our accessories section includes weed control matting, fertilisers & wildflower seed.

Strimming

Young plants should be protected from damage caused when strimming. To protect plants solely for strimming, our strimmer guards are the ideal product.

Planting

Follow this link to our 'Planting Advice' page for more detailed information on how to plant your plants.

Rootgrow

We would often advise that you consider using 'Rootgrow' for your bare root plants. Rootgrow simply speeds up an existing natural process. The fungi contained in Rootgrow will begin to colonise the plant or tree roots, extending the root system into the surrounding soil via an extensive network of fungal filaments. 

The benefit of Rootgrowis that it enhances a plants root system so a newly planted plant:

  • Finds more food, finds more water.

  • Needs less fertiliser.

  • Establishes quicker and reduces failure rates (which can be improved even further when used in conjunction with Broadleaf P4)

  • Has increased tolerance to drought and difficult soil conditions

We also have a handy Welfare Guide that includes information on how to check your plants on arrival, how to plant them and also how to look after them. This is sent out with each delivery of bare root plants, but it can be downloaded from our advice pages.

Aftercare

The Bird Cherry is not normally pruned.

Readily available advice

For additional information on planting and maintaining your plants, please see our advice pages.

We provide extensive articles, tips, and even tutorial videos, ideal for beginners and those with previous planting experience.

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Is this Tree safe to be planted in a field intended for Horses? I am getting my own land and looking to plant a variety of Trees that will also benefit Wildlife. Thank you

Frances,

Thank you for your question.

I can confirm Bird Cherry is safe for a field intended for horses. 

Regards,

The Trees and Hedging Team. 

Hi, I am interested in planting a bird friendly back yard and I am keen to include this bird cherry. Could you please advise if this would be suitable for a pot and, if so, what size? Many thanks

Thank you very much for your question 

Yes you can plant these in pots. You can choose any pot size, but it wants to be large enough to comfortably accommodate the root system. Our only other advice would be to not put a small tree in a very large pot initally, instead pot up the plant in stages, for example finishing with a final container of 45 cm / 18 inches. 

Hope that helps, regards the Trees and Hedging Team

A five year old bird cherry on a small meadow is healthy but looking 'lanky'. Would it be wise to prune it? I have had conflicting advice.

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the pruning of your Bird Cherry.

Our general rule of thumb is not to prune the Bird Cherry, but there is a little room for flexibility....please see the advice below provided by Sue Hoy, our Gardening Consultant

“Bird Cherries can look rather spindly in the first few years. If you prune, you take out the leader - the main upward pointing branch - and this would mean that it would never make a good specimen tree. It does make a very elegant, slightly weeping tree with age, so it would be a shame to do this. You can take off some of the lower branches, so that you can cut the grass easily below the tree, but make sure that you do this between March - Sept when the sap is still rising as cherries are prone to a fungal disease if they're pruned when dormant. Make sure the tree is clear of grass at the base, and that it has plenty of light; feed with a good general fertiliser at the end of March and that will give you the best chance of achieving a good tree.”

We hope that helps clarify the situation for you

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